Well, I was hoping it wouldn't turn out this way, but I was afraid it probably would. After waiting several months for a response, I finally heard from Big Idea that they will not be participating in JellyTelly in any way. No VeggieTales, no 3-2-1 Penguins, no Cartoon Adventures of Larryboy, no nothing.
I had a conversation a few months ago where the head of Big Idea said they felt it "would be a shame if JellyTelly launched and VeggieTales weren't a part of it," but apparently they either changed their minds on that point or were overruled by management in New York or London. No veggies on the JellyTelly.
The reason given was that Big Idea has decided to pursue its own online initiative. By itself.
Not at all surprising, considering Big Idea's new owners aren't really in this for ministry goals, and profit is seldom maximized by sharing with others. Kind of sad, all the same. And ironic. Virtually every company involved in Christian children's media has agreed to help get JellyTelly off the ground. Except the company I started.
Which also means my old friends at Big Idea – many of whom are really jazzed about the creative and ministry potential of JellyTelly – won't be allowed to help.
Again, I'm not particularly surprised. Just disappointed.
What do you think about the situation? Surprised? Saddened? Upset?
I would say Saddened, Upset, Annoyed, Frustrated…oh the list could go on. It really is unfortuante and I guess their loss. I wish this world wasn’t all about “me” but sadly it is…but I’ll be praying God will continue to bless you and that JellyTelly will launch w/ maddening success!!! Oh…p.s….my 15 month old son, Ryan knows Bob now and everytime (anywhere) we see anything VeggieTales, he points and says Bob. 🙂
so if they launch a similar online “product” would they then use you to write content and use your vocal talent to give voice to the characters? that seems strange… although not stranger than if they did all of that and if you weren’t involved.
I can only imagine that God has bigger and better things in store for JellyTelly.
The Golden Rule called for you to offer, Phil. That’s all you could do.
Let’s remember what happens when people look back…Lot’s wife didn’t fare too well, whether she was confirming God’s promise or looking to feel vengeance. And Jesus says “Let the dead bury the dead.”
He wants us all to move on. Now you have confirmation from Big Idea. Their seal of approval for moving on seems a little small when Our Lord has already ordained it.
Onward, Christian Soldier!
My contract with Big Idea doesn’t include additional writing, but, yes, I could end up doing voices for their online stuff. At least for the next year or so.
Definitely disappointed. That would have been sooo neat. I had wondered if it would be, but then thought maybe the deal with NBC might would preclude them.
But… wow, their own network by themselves? I happened to notice the other day that the MSRP at both CBD and Amazon for the upcoming release of The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything movie is nearly $30. Of course CBD and Amazon are discounting, but sheeesh at the starting point! That really saddened me. So… to hear this news didn’t surprise me as it might have before I’d noticed that. Ugh… sorry phil! I know that has to sting. But, I know that God is good and He makes beautiful things out of the yukky.
Not surprised – like you said, their goals are different. However, I’d think it wd be good for them to do a few little spots or put silly songs on there – doesn’t cost them anything and it’s good promotion for VeggieTales to a whole new market… even if they’re going to compete.
Too bad, but God is good. Stay strong and know that there’s TONS of us out here foaming at the mouth about JellyTelly and praying for it so God’s moving on this!
Yeah I never pay $20 for a dvd and it seems strange when full price in the past for VT has been about 15 but usually only $12. Makes it hard to justify buying Pirates right away but oh well.
And its sad but kinda expected, BI’s response that is. My family is so flipping excited for Jelly Telly though. And we keep spreading the word. I LOVE the brilliance of the price for subscriptions. As a family who’s been through beyond lean times and is frugal it is nice to be able to start out at a lower monthly price and then increase as money allows.
I’m not sure how I feel. I know there are a lot of attachments (and not just vocally) to Veggie Tales, but I really feel like God wants to do something huge with JellyTelly. Maybe God’s protecting you from all the financial struggles that would still be tied to Big Idea, and He wants you free to develop JellyTelly without that kind of restraints.
But really I think it’s that God wants us to sing a new song, so to speak. That He is making ALL things new, and not only that, He’s going to make them bigger, and better, and bless more people with what will be coming from JellyTelly and the Christian community that supports it.
(Oops! I submitted before I was finished!)
I’m not saying that it’s not possible down the road, but I think that for now it might be what God is desiring. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for one of the “new songs” to be a new silly song, but I think that for now God wants to have the two separate.
Phil, in the JT video you said that you believed that it pleases God when something starts small and then He grows it up. I think that if the Veggies were involved at this stage, that people would say “Look what the Veggies did!” instead of “Look what God did!” I think that maybe this is God’s way of making sure that He gets the glory.
Not surprised but I think it’s for the better. Like you said they’re not in it for the ministry but rather for profit. I think it’s best if Jelly Telly content is created only by those who are doing it for the right reasons.
I also like and agree with what Kyle said.
Man, Phil, I am sorry to hear that. I am not surprised in the least. Weird things have been brewing up there for awhile, and it seems that while the creative talent is still great, the business end of the house is not too in sync with each other(IMHO).
I know you know this, but just a little reminder here that God is in control. Good, bad or indifferent: it will always work into whatever His plan is. I totally get hating not being in control~ but He’s already in tomorrow, and knows how He wants to bless you, JT, and all the people who stand with you on this project.
Their decision stinks, but whatcha going to do?? Just trust Him.
Many blessings, my friend!
Thanks Lisa, Kyle, Matt and all. You guys (and gals) are wise beyond your years.
Gotta get back to the lab now…
That’s a very good point! And I wanted to add, that even though I’m disappointed in recent things, I wish the Veggies well in their endeavour. I know a lot of good people still work there and I continue to love the stuff they produce. If they proceed with their plans, I wonder if later on, there will be an interesting study in contrasts to look back on…
Well I can definitley say I’m saddened. And a little bit angry too I admit. Or maybe a lot angry.
totally agree with you though Lisa. We all need to be reminded often that God’s ways are not ours and that we just need to trust Him, even though it’s hard sometimes.
I picked up your book when I was visiting my brother in the USA and just finished reading it. We run a small business and was so encouraged (I am not a big reader, but finished it in 4 days) and was reminded, ONCE AGAIN, that it not about me and my plans! It all about God.
PS. In case you are wondering, I am from South Africa.
I am upset, surprised and saddened by this news. I almost cried as it was so sad. But, remember that God has a big idea for you and that sometimes bad things turn into good things, who knows what God has planned for you.
I like the attitude…”back to the lab.” Kinda like “back to the drawing board” for us artistic types!
It seems apparent to me that you knew their answer already and you now know their reasonings..at least what they will tell you. It is a …sigh… situation.
But God likes to grow good strong stuff outta hurts and scars, and I have to agree with my friends, something big’s gonna happen and it WON’T be because of VeggieTales, it will be because of God.
I am upset and oddly took it personally as Veggie Tales are part of my fond memories of becoming a Christian. I wonder if the direction of Big Idea persuing “profit over ministry” will separate the wheat from the chaff? You may have a few folks from there have God weigh on their hearts towards JellyTelly!!!
Hey don’t worry it’s not the end of the world. God has said that it will be so, so let’s move on from there. Besides, who knows, maybe Big Idea will join the band-wagon in a few years or so.
Keep it up dude. And let’s make an interactive JellyTelly widget for your readers to put on their blogs.
Or…It could be a brilliant pincer maneuver by God. Just think, as a parallel. Paul and Barnabas split over an argument, and as a result, God’s word was spread twice as fast as it otherwise would have. With Big Idea and Jelly Telly out there, that’s two platforms for God’s word to spread from. I know my kids will be watching both, as my wife and I will, to see what happens next. And don’t be too disheartened by the current owners of Jelly Telly, God has there hearts in his hands as well, just as Pharaoh, and Ahasuerus’ were.
Thats really whack…the very own company that u started cant even join with Jelly Telly. eh…im praying for those people! my question is WHY???
Not surprised at all Phil, but it must hurt…. With or without Big Idea Jelly Telly will be a success. I believe that with all my heart.
Hate to say it Phil, but I’m not surprised either. Back in the heady days of the late 90’s I felt like supporting Big Idea by buying the latest VeggieTale video was somehow part of my responsibility even though I was a poor college student. Now that they are not Christian owned (I know Mike and a lot of the same people still work there) even though I now have kids… not so much. My little girls get by on Madame Blueberry and The Hairbrush song. I haven’t seen many of the newer videos and to be honest I’m not sure that I want to. Even if I weren’t able to tell the difference in quality, the magic is somehow gone.
This online initiative of theirs as a solo attempt wont be a “platform” as you are attempting to launch. Choice is theirs, shame they won’t get on the wagon. I hear a board meeting in my head …
” Presenter: Yes we have had disappointing sales across our portfolio but that is about to change! ( suits lean forward in thier chairs to squint at a newly unvielded sales chart ) Presenter: We are taking all of our media concepts ONLINE! Cyberspace! The information highway! Our on demand media and advertising will cash in like never before as three year olds beat our domain name into thier keyboards! ”
Of course prior to this presentation they would need to squwelch any notion that they would be cooporating in anyone elses online endevour. Oh well. McGee never costarred in your early veggietales and they still got off the ground. I say go ahead and give your pirates the best dressing room in the studio and press forward as is!
Do not let your heart be troubled. This is God freeing you of what was past and propelling you into what is to come. The manna was good. The quail was what you needed. But God had a plan for you all along…honestly a plan for all of us. And it’s Bob-free, which is sad, but it’s where he’s taking you.
You have admitted freely that Jellytelly is the platform Christian media needs. Do not take hearing God’s direction lightly. He said to go, so go. Bob-free.
As a Christian writer and media guy, I’m excited about your – our – future.
I totally agree with WongStuff. And you did say their focus has changed.
I am appalled! That is terrible! Your friends can’t even help you with JellyTelly? That’s just not right. Well you know just like I keep telling myself, the Lord has something better. And he will turn this around for His good. We may not understand what’s going to happen or what is just around the bend but He knows what He is doing. Who knows the Lord may make JellyTelly more popular than VeggieTales? Who knows? The Lord does. We just need to trust and believe that He has this in His control. The Lord is Awesome like that! Thank you Phil for keeping the Lord in your ministry instead of profit. :-))
I feel bad for you. It must be disappointing. But I’m not very surprised.
Disappointing, but frankly I don’t think it’s a big deal. Right now it’s “Phil’s new initiative, with a weird subscription model, and he’s looking for content”(1). Not very appealing. In a few months, it will probably be “that thing with x thousand individual views a day, where we can get people interested in VeggieTales”. God willing they’ll call you.
And if not, there’s plenty of good spiritual nourishment where those veggies came from.
(1) From the perspective of corporate managers to who Big Idea is just one franchise of many.
I think saying that profit comes at the expense of ministry, or ministry comes at the expense of profit, is wrong. They aren’t necessarily opposites. The idea that you are not going to be profitable, or as profitable, if God calls you to do something (and it seems logical that if God calls you to do something, whether it be evangelizing cannibals in Mali, baking pies, or designing widgets, that’s your ministry), is rather bizarre. Is that inferring that God wants ministries of whatever kind to be financial sinkholes?
I can certainly understand why you would be upset. I would too. It is very ironic that the company that would not be in exsistance because of you is saying they do not want to be involved in you. I am sure it just seems weird. But, I do believe that all things happen for a reason, as I know you do too. Who knows why that door has been closed, but I have faith that there will be an open window somewhere around the corner.
Also, I have been enjoying reading about the Christian business ownership. Definately food for thought. Lots of thoughtful people out there!
I’m pimping Jelly Telly on my blog this week. Just found your blog today – read the whole stinkin’ story and watched the Jelly Telly video.
I’m crazy, super excited about it.
That’s tough. It’s sad and disappointing, and a little surprising. If I were BigIdea mgmt, I would have seriously considered a partnership. Just think what it would be like to put classic VT stories on JT. The old 10-15 minute VeggieTales stories and Silly Songs and Penguin Songs would have fit perfectly on JellyTelly. And that would have introduced a new audience to VT who would then want to go out and buy new VT episodes on DVD. Would have been smarter to partner with JT than try to strike out on their own.
To be frank, since the subject of VeggieTales has come up, I have to wonder how many more years of life they have left. But that may be a subject for another time.
Man, what a letdown…
its sad to think that big idea is less ministry focused than what it should be and was created as, because that is what it is all about. It’s great to see everyone else joining in and being a part of Jelly TV, because we are all united in the same cause and so we should be supporting each other, not competing with each other. I think though that it is more just disappointing that they wont even be a part of something like this that has come from the person who started it all for them. I think that it would be great for them to help out, just to show honour to you, such an amazing man of God, without whom they wouldn’t have Big Idea.
One day it will all work out how God plans it to! We know that His plans are far greater than anything we could do anyway, so He will make a way for you to reconnect with Bob and Larry, or He will push you into an even greater future with everything you are starting now!
God bless you! Your testimony is always an amazingly inspiring story. Thank you for continually sharing!
this is pretty cr*p.
Excuse my language.
(did you know Apostle Paul used a worse word in the Bible, they just translate it differently)
We all have different inclinations towards sentimentality…towards what mementos we keep or (as a constant battle with hubby) how many 🙂 And he’s the one keeping them, contrary to stereotype. My point is that of all of our fond memories, Veggietales crossed the line from entertainment to something more than that, of a more simpler and more idealistic time in our lives. My husband actually used Veggietales to propose to me 11 years ago–he hand sewed all of the characters (not then available as toys in stores) and created the story of Ruth and Boaz (not then done) becuase it was my favorite story. So for me, it is a travesty to see them (although still quality in production and story line) watered down by the “man behind the curtain” running the show, so to speak.
However, they were just a medium. They were a creative (brilliantly creative) medium, but Phil–they were also your first attempt! Through God, what you accomplished through your first attempt will far exceed my FINAL attempt at anything creative in this life. Forget creativity for a moment–your first attempt at putting the Gospel in the hands of children (and parents) will likely exceed my FINAL attempt of placing the Gospel into the hands of others. So I agree with a few of the other bloggers who say that although sad, it is evidently God’s way of clearing the air-time for other, new, fresh ideas.
Oh, I CAN’T WAIT–I CAN’T WAIT–I CAN’T WAIT–I CAN’T WAIT!!!!
KEVIN KIRK: Amen, Amen, AMEN!!
Php 1:15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill.
Php 1:16 The latter do so from love because they know that I am placed here for the defense of the gospel.
Php 1:17 The former proclaim Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me in my imprisonment.
Php 1:18 What is the result? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
Php 1:19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
OH PHIL — LOOK!! — what Kevin said is RIGHT!
Just look at what the LORD has written:
Num 23:12 Balaam replied, “Must I not be careful to speak what the LORD has put in my mouth?”
Did you seek a Blessing, receive a Curse, only to have God turn it into a Blessing??
Kristofer said this above:
“Onward, Christian Soldier!”
Amen to THAT, too!
Love you guys,
Are you kidding me? What is WRONG with them?! I think what you are doing is amazing and totally needed. I will be tuning in…oh yeah and my 4 year olds will be too. I’m telling everyone I know about Jelly Telly.
Phil – I have to confess that I have had your book, “Me, Myself and Bob” for a year and didn’t start reading it until this weekend. Second confession is that I missed your general session address at the Children’s Pastors’ Conference in Orlando. I was tired from working as an assistant and was resting, but regretted not going after hearing all the positive comments. Anyway, I just finished the book and had to write to thank you for your honesty and willingness to expose your personal struggles and hurts. Thank you for pointing out the obvious that is so often missed. That our life doesn’t belong to us. As Christians we were bought with price to bring glory to God. By the way, I live in Burlington, Iowa which is south of Muscatine on the Mississippi.
It just seems all of this is preparing the way for what feels inevitable – the day when Phil Vischer is no longer actively a part of VeggieTales. The day when someone else voices Bob, Archibald, Pa Grape, Mr. Lunt, and all the others, not to mention the day when Phil no longer is contractually obligated to write stories for Big Idea. I’m not looking forward to that day, to say the least, but Phil hints at it in here somewhere – and it seems it has to happen if he’s truly going to move ahead with JellyTelly. It’s just not going to be good, but it will happen.
Phil, I have a tremendous depth of passion for what you do, have done, and will do (as do a few other people it would seem). As for Big Idea and the way things are currently: This song is not over yet. Just watch.
Much Love to you and your family from me and mine.
It’s all in God’s plan……
Look what happened……
There was VeggieTales, that you started.
What you think is that you made a mistake…..
But maybe that’s not so.
Look where you are now!
You are starting JellyTelly…. So this is all in God’s plan….
You lost VeggieTales, learned from the expiriences, and Now you started JellyTelly.
It’s all in his hands.
I’m convinced that this is not the end of your dialogue with Big Idea on this issue. Although you started Big Idea, these days they are the “big fish” in Christian children’s entertainment — the equivalent of trying to land Tom Hanks for your independent film (even if Tom Hanks were a personal friend of yours, you’d be fighting an uphill battle).
However, when (we hope!) JellyTelly establishes itself as THE place for online Christian entertainment, they are likely to give it a second look. For a related example, look at Hulu.com. Hulu is a partnership between NBC and Fox and their related affiliates. Before Hulu launched, NBC broadcast much of their own content at NBC.com. I believe Fox did something similar. Neither one made much of a dent in online entertainment. When they teamed up and brought content from NBC, Fox, USA, Comedy Central, F/X, and the Sci-Fi Network all to ONE SITE, it exploded!
I believe that you have the potential to build the Hulu of Christian entertainment. You won’t have everyone on board at first, but once it starts working, the big guys who think they can go it alone just might line up at your door.
kind of sad, It would be nice if they would at least allow you to play the classic episodes, I don’t care so much for the new ones, the stories still are very good for the most part, and the music continues to be excellent, but the overall quality and appearance of the shows are rather disapointing.
Phil, do you have a no-recruit clause in whatever contracts you have with Big Idea? There’s always poaching … 🙂
Yeah, that’s sad. I’m not surprised eiter… But how sad that Bob and Larry aren’t allowed to come out and play with the Jellys.
Can I sigh right along with you?
I just finished reading your book and had to check out your website. I am deeply saddened at what has happened. But I know God has important things for you. You are truly a remarkable person and when I meet you one day (in person or in Heaven) I will be humbly honored.
Your videos have been a comfort to me growing up in a non-Christian household. They had the values and Bible stories for me, but were entertaining and fun enough for my whole family to enjoy. I am now 25, but still enjoy watching my Veggie Tales and sharing them with those around me. I love your passion and your mission and I can’t wait to see what else you can create.
I am soooo sad about what happened to Big Idea. And to think as an adult I’m just starting to get hooked on Silly Songs with Larry. Um, Phil? Everybody doesn’t have support from Big Idea… Where’s my support from Big Idea?!!! Why can’t I have Big Idea’s support?!!! Do you know how many letters they are going to get asking for support from Big Idea?!!! It’s a shame that secular business practices are so much of a stumbling stone to ministry. May God continue to bless your work and give you guidance and peace. I guess He just has a different direction for you to pursue. “If God is with us, who can be against us?” ROM 8:31 Count me in as a prayer partner!!! I just know you will have a new generation of characters to make us laugh and teach us with. Hmmm… JellyBean songs… Looking forward to seeing you at Founder’s Week.
Blessings for your new direction… sigh….
I need veggietales, and 3-2-1 penugins back!